"Fires" and "burning" are probably not the idealised view of community energy project most of us would like to have. We've been delighted to work with the community energy sector as it's matured, advising on utility scale solar assets, battery storage, the transition from EIS-flavoured share issues to Bond offers with no loss of momentum and meeting some inspiring people along the way. Credit also to Mongoose Energy for getting into supply, and municipal suppliers like Bristol Energy for settling PPAs with local community generation projects. Despite the challenges, there is still potential in community rooftop solar with a sensible PPA price, but there is also the need for community energy groups to think more broadly about what opportunities are out there. The non-domestic RHI is obvious play, but what unwritten law is there that community generation projects must be purely renewable? Low carbon CHP projects may offer communities an interesting avenue, and could enable them to power the schools, leisure centres and even hospitals that they already know. But what about harnessing the power of crowd to look at gas peaking and getting into the capacity market? Let's also look at STOR or battery storage projects in community ownership.
I'm conscious that there are probably some ideological issues with this and fully support the drive for local energy from renewable sources. But I wonder if now is the time for the sector to think about Community Energy as being wider than community renewables?
Transitioning to a decentralised, renewable energy system is never going to be easy. The changes are visible in the landscape and raise highly political issues about energy bills and security. In our view there is no path to a new energy system that does not involve the support and active participation of the public.